1. Are there any IP, Patent or Royalty issues for CIQ Standards?
CIQ Standards are free of any IP issues (other than OASIS guidelines regarding IP), Patent or Royalty. It is free of any licensing/commercial issues. Anybody can download and use the CIQ standards for free. It is advisable to read the OASIS Copyright notice and policy on IP.
2. CIQ Standards are very rich and complex and my application does not need such complexity to define, say name and address of a customer.
This is the statement we commonly hear from people who look at it. But the main point they miss is that the standard aims at application independency, ie. not specific to a particular application area. Because the standards are application independent, and moreover are designed to handle data at an abstract to detailed level, it is very rich in its structure and appears complex (though, not actually).
3. Why are xNL and xAL complex?
xNA and xAL are not complex as they appear. This is the statement we commonly hear from people who look at it. But the main point they miss is that the standard aims at application independency, ie. not specific to a particular application area. The objective of xNAL is to support: - Addresses of 241+ Countries - Represented in 5,000+ languages/dialects - With 130+ Address Formats, and - With 36+ Personal Name formats Lot of effort were put into designing our standard to cope up with the above complexity and at the same time to make the DTDs/W3C schemas as simple as possible to use without using any complex XML extensions at it will only complicate the parisng process of the application using the XML data. You will note that the flexibility in design allows users to either go for aan abstract representation of an address or a detailed representation of an address. The following example will help one understand that it is upto the user to represent the data using xNAL standards in a simple or complex manner. 23 Archer Street Chatswood, NSW 2067 Australia This address can be defined in atleast five different ways depending upon your needs to represent the address. Click here to view the above address example in XML. We have tested the name and address standards on over 100 countries and are continuing to test on the remaining countries. Examples from the other standards initiatives have also been converted to XML using xNAL. More examples (international) can be downloaded from the TC web site. Similar flexibility is provided to name standard (xNL) and customer information standard (xCIL). To get "the perfect standard" that is acceptable to every application is no easy task. It is a journey. We encourage feedbacks/criticisms/comments regarding our efforts and this will help us to provide the public with better standards that is useful to their business. We are committed to "open" standards and therefore, we are open to public comments.
4. How is the Name and Address Standard of CIQ TC different from other name and address standard initiatives?
The objective of xNAL (Name and Address Standard) of CIQ is: - Application independent - Truly Global (handle name and address structures of all countries) - Can be applied to any application that use name and address data The CIQ TC has spent close to two years in building xNAL that is application independent and truly global, and hence, can be readily applied to any name and address specific applications including Postal services and address validation. This is where xNAL standard differs from other address standards initiatives around the world that concentrate on a specific area namely, Postal Services. Note that name and addresses are important customer data elements in many applications also and not just Postal services alone. Not every application that uses customer name and address data is for postal business. Name and address, for example, plays a major role in identifying customer relationships. If a Postal Organisation of a country wants to use CIQ standards for defining their postal services, they can build a standard/application around the xNAL standard that is very domain specific for their postal services. Given that xNAL is designed to handle the address structures of all countries at an abstract or detailed level, it make it easier for applications to concentrate on building domain specific standards/applications around xNAL. Click here to open a document that compares xNAL with other Name and Address Standard initiatives.
5. What is the difference between OASIS, CIQ stuff and the Electronic Commerce Code Management Association (ECCMA) stuff other than that one represents software vendors and the other users for a master collection of electronic commerce code sets and or ontology's? If my understanding is correct, they both appear to have adopted similar concepts but different techniques for doing the same job, or competitors in the same space (standards proliferation)? (March 2002)
See answer to question 3. CIQ Name and address standards, customer information standards and customer relationships standards started off from the perspective of a customer and not from theperspective of mail delivery. The objective is to define standards that define customer/profile information that is application independent, vendor neutral, open and importantly, "Global". We spent two years defining international name and address standard that is application independent. Because it has to be application independent (eg. not specific to aplication such as postal services as name and address data is not only used for postal services, but for other porposes as well), we have to ensure that the standard is flexible enough to handle any applications for name and address. This is where our group differs from any other group that is working on international name and address standards. The other groups working on international name and address standards are: GCA- ADIS, CEN-WG331, UN*PROLST. The only objective of these groups are to develope a standard for postal services (eg. expedient delivery of mail). The ECCMA code tables are to represent every individual name and address element with a common code number and this is specifically for mailhouse activities (eg. mail printing). It is interesting to note that the ECCMA Coide tables are very biased towards US Postal System atleast at this stage as it includes codes for USPS specific data such as: - Date of ZIP Code change - Congressional District Code - USPS specific internal ID code - etc Note that these groups are yet to develop a standard that is "global". Reason, a request for support from all postal unions around the world on this initiative was sent out only recently. An international address element and template information is gathered by the UPU which will then be added to the ECCMA IAEC tables. The hope is that this effort will reflect the addresses of all the world posts!. It should also be noted that only 20-30 countries of the 241 countries have a formal national postal address file and that too a streamlined postal service in place. It is a long way before a truly internatoional name and address standard for postal services agreed by all postal unions around the world is developed by these groups. A developed country like Australia for example, streamlined its postal service only last year(2001). Note that the CIQ standard does provide options to store this ECCMA code tables and some data items that are specific to postal services. CIQ name and address standard is infact a superset of the other name and address standard initiatives. It also provides multiple occuring flex field element with a type attribute that shall enable applications to use this element to define their application specific data.
6. What are the criteria and business value to an organization for selecting CIQ over the other similar standards in defining the organizations baseline architecture? (March 2002)
If your organisation wants to use name and address not for just postal services, but also for other purposes as well (eg. customer profile management, contact management, employee information, CRM apps, customer identification, name and address parsing and validation, etc), then CIQ is the best choice as it is designed to accommodate all these aplications. If your organisation wants to use name and address standard that can be extended to other customer information (eg. tel, fax, email, url, customer id, customer relationships, etc.) that are unique to the customer, then CIQ is the best choice.
7. Is CIQ working with other similar standard groups?
CIQ is committed to collaborative work. CIQ is trying hard all these years to foster alignment with other similar standard initiatives. Given that CIQ has already done the important base work of defining standards that are global and application independent, it makes life easier for other groups to extend the standard for domain specific applications such as postal services. CIQ and OASIS in general, are open for any collaborative work in an "open" process manner to ensure that there is no duplication of work. CIQ is speaking to groups like CEN WG331, USPS, UN*PROLST, GCA ADIS, CPExchange, and others. It is hard to collaborate politically, but it is easier technically.
8. Are CIQ Standards such as xNAL designed for the CRM world only?
Absolutely not. They have been designed to be application independent. Let us say, for example, in an organisation or a government sector, there are many applications dealing common data such as name and address. The applications using say, name and address could be a CRM, user registration on web, billing, marketing, sales, name and address cleansing and quality, etc. The optimal way to interoperate name and address data is to store the name and address information in a common format that can be applied or reused across different applications. But organisations often end up storing name and address data in many different formats specific to the applications and hence, are unable to integrate different applications to meet business needs (eg. integrate applications to get all info. about a party). To store name and address information in a common format, you need a standard that is flexible enough to be applied to different requirements of the application. This is precisely what CIQ standards have been defined for and this is why it is flexible to store simple user registration data (eg. address line 1, address line 2, city, state, postcode, country) to detailed level of data for complex aplications like name and address parsing and matching which requires detailed level of elementisation of the name and address data.
9. Where can I find more information about CIQ?
The CIQ web site is the best choice (http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/ciq). There is also a powerpoint presentation material about OASIS CIQ on this site. This will give you an insight on how we differ from other groups and what our goals/objectives are.